Black Beans Are Magical
And no, I don’t mean in ‘that way’ at all. Beans are the healthiest and most nutritional protein option on earth. The communities around the world that eat a lot of beans, legumes and farinaceous foods live longer and happier than they do in other communities. Just check out my friend Dan Buettner’s Blue Zones books. Anyway, when I was in Oaxaca I ate the simplest bean recipe that exists and it blew my mind. I’ve been playing around with the idea below ever since. Use a pot of beans as a platform for the meal. Add some tortilla, a great salad, some cut limes, a plate of sliced avocado, some salsas and maybe a small plate of simply roasted fish or meat. Let the beans be the centerpiece of the whole thing and your food life will shift for the better at least once a week.
- 1 pound dried black beans (I prefer the thin beans from Oaxaca)
- 10 cups water
- 2 medium yellow onions, halved
- 5 garlic cloves, halved
- 3 carrots, halved
- 3 oregano sprigs
- 3 cilantro sprigs
- Kosher salt
- Corn tortillas, sour cream and lime wedges, for serving
- Tomatillo salsa, for serving (optional)
- Tamarind salsa, for serving (optional)
- Thick chile salsa, for serving (optional)
Rinse the beans in a colander. In a large pot, bring 10 cups of water to a simmer over moderate heat. Add the rinsed beans, onions, garlic, carrots, oregano, cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 2 hours.
Discard the onion halves, carrots and herb stems. Season the beans with salt and pepper, and serve with tortillas, sour cream and lime wedges.
MAKE AHEAD The beans can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Originally published on Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures on foodandwine.com.
Photograph by Madeleine Hill.